Akin Tosyali of Tiege Hanley, LLC is back again this week with a post on time management for entrepreneurs:
Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, especially when you haven’t figured out how to best manage your time. Between answering phone calls, battling an avalanche of emails and marketing your business, your day is always packed with a never-ending list of things to do.
How do you juggle it all without sinking beneath the weight of being your own boss? Here are a few tips to make the most of your time each day:
Schedule a Time and Limit for Answering Emails
If you’re reading emails all day as they come in, you’re wasting an enormous amount of time. Once your business starts to grow, there will be an unending amount of emails that make their way to your inbox.
Rather than answer them as they come in, set a time and limit to when you answer emails. Unless the emails are urgent, you need to move on and tackle more important tasks that demand your attention.
While we’re on the subject of emails, be sure to keep your inbox clean and organized. A cluttered inbox will increase your chances of missing an important message. Use folders to sort your emails and consider adding color-coded options to mark messages that are urgent.
Start Waking Up Early
Have you ever stopped to wonder why most entrepreneurs are morning people? There are more than just a few good reasons why busy people tend to wake up early.
Getting up before typical business hours will give you an hour or two of quiet time. With no emails or phone calls to answer, you can focus on the task at hand.
Not to mention that you’ll feel more accomplished by getting something done early. This can set the tone for the rest of the day and allow you to get more done.
Setting an alarm for 5:30 a.m. can be brutal if you aren’t used to it. Give your body time to adjust by working your way up to your desired wake-up time. Also, be sure to go to bed earlier! Science says that adults need seven to nine hours of shuteye to be productive.
Value Your Time
Getting your work done is difficult enough without people constantly asking you for favors. As an entrepreneur, learning how to say “no” to others is crucial if you want to maximize your productivity.
It’s important to remind yourself that your time is valuable. As much as you would like to help others, your business must come first if you want it to become successful.
Entrepreneurship is full of difficult choices. The most successful business owners didn’t get to where they are by agreeing to everything. By saying “no” more often, you can stop wasting your time and energy on things that don’t move the needle for your business.
Carve Out Time for Yourself
Many entrepreneurs pride themselves on being hustlers. But there is a reason why depression and anxiety are prevalent among entrepreneurs.
Hustling day in and day out can take its toll. To keep your sanity, remember to carve out some time for yourself.
Start forcing yourself into good habits such as eating the right foods, getting in some exercise each day and sticking a simple skin care routine. Taking good care of both your body and mind is never a waste of time; on the contrary, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself as an entrepreneur.
Plan for Mishaps
The road to success is paved with mistakes—many of them. Although creating a schedule is essential for good time management, most entrepreneurs forget to account for the mishaps that will dog them throughout the day.
There will be days where it feels as though you’re constantly putting out fires. If you don’t plan for them, it’s easy to feel stressed out and overwhelmed.
Make time for a few of the roadblocks that will inevitably come your way. Whether it’s an unhappy client or a personal crisis, some things will demand your attention immediately. Just be sure to differentiate between the fires that are urgent and ones that can wait.
Limit Your Social Media
We all like to tell ourselves that we’re “doing work” by checking our social media business pages. But let’s not fool ourselves. Checking your business’s Facebook page eventually leads to browsing your personal Facebook page.
Before you know it, you’ve spent 20 minutes looking at your friend’s pictures of their recent rafting trip. What happened?
Social media is a sneaky time waster that kills productivity. In fact, the average person now spends nearly two hours on social media each day.
Consider what could be accomplished with this time instead. If you’re serious about managing your time more efficiently, you need to set a timer for social media surfing. Keep it to a maximum of 15 minutes and pay strict attention to your timer.
Technology can be a huge time waster (i.e., social media). It can also be a huge time saver if you use it the right way.
The explosion of technology in recent years means that entrepreneurs now have more ways to maximize their efficiency through the latest gadgets and apps. From automating your digital marketing through cloud-based marketing software to downloading a simple time management app, there is no shortage of ways to take advantage of technology.
While some time management technologies are free, others are an investment. But if you’re an entrepreneur who is serious about working smarter and not harder, the decision to automate tedious tasks is a no-brainer.
Taking Care of Business
Launching a business might sound glamorous, but experienced entrepreneurs know that success doesn’t come overnight. To achieve your goals and reach the top, making smart use of your time is essential.
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean going it alone. There are entrepreneur clubs where you can meet face-to-face. You can also find help by searching the web. For example, the entrepreneurs at Tiege Hanley chronicle their business’ highs and lows in their YouTube vlog “Starting a Business and Building a Brand”. By leaning on the larger entrepreneurial community, you can overcome some of the biggest time management hurdles and start maximizing your efficiency as well as your profits.